Thursday, August 19, 2010

Amazing Spider-Man #640 Review: One Moment in Time, Part 3

The ongoing Amazing Spider-Man arc "One Moment In Time" has been a lesson in lowered expectations for me. Part 1 (issue #638) had three years of build up behind it, and for me it fell so woefully short of my expectations that I couldn't help but to hate it. With my expectations reasonably lowered for Part 2 (issue #639), I actually found things to like about the issue -- particularly Paolo Rivera's artwork -- but still found it lacking overall.

Now in Part 3, it seems my expectations have been sufficiently lowered to the point that the things I like about the issue are balanced with the things I don't like.

Up until this issue, we hadn't really seen anything that would have served as a reasonable explanation for why Peter and Mary Jane weren't even a large part of each other's lives in the post-OMD continuity, but this issue provides the background for that. After the Kingpin finds out that Aunt May survived the assassination attempt, he send an assassin after MJ's Aunt Anna. MJ manages to stop the assassin, but in the subsequent fight, it's made clear that no one in MJ's family is safe. That spurs Peter to go to Doctor Strange to set in motion the mojo that will make the whole world forget he's Spider-Man.

In the greater universe we've been presented, those events actually make sense. What doesn't make sense is the scene between Aunt May's doctor and Peter, in which the doctor seems convinced that what saved Aunt May was the power of love. That's not even a good Huey Lewis and the News song, much less a good explanation for a continuity altering storyline.

Also, when Doctor Strange went off into his out-of-body experience, I was kind of hoping he'd encounter Mephisto, connecting this back to One More Day, but instead he was holding an astral summit with Tony Stark and Reed Richards. That DOES connect this all back to Civil War, which would be great, except five pages earlier, Peter specifically said to himself, "publicly revealing my secret identity was my own choice."

As mentioned above, Rivera's art is outstanding. I love how his MJ looks. And in contrast to past issues, there are only two pages of the exposition filled apartment scenes, as drawn by Quesada, so that negative is nicely minimized here.

I'm not ready to give a passing grade to the OMIT arc, but at least this issue didn't feel like a total failure to me.

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